Dec 312012

I’m not going to write a long blog entry at the last day of the year. 2012 was a great year but I’ve already wrote about all the stuff that happened in my previous blogs. I want to talk a little bit about poker and that’s it.

I’ll start with the good stuff! My contract with PokerStars Team: Online has been renewed for another year. This will be my 3th year and I can only say that I’m really honored. A lot of sponsor contracts were ended after Black Friday, not only at PokerStars, and I’m still a member of PokerStars Team: Online. It feels great to represent PokerStars another year since it’s still the #1 Poker website in the world! 2012 wasn’t a great poker year for me so that means that I’m even more happy since I wouldn’t have been surprised if PokerStars hadn’t renewed my contract. I feel bad about not pushing myself for playing more poker in 2012 and that’s why I’ve come up with my long list of New Year resolutions (see previous blog). I’m really eager to start grinding and if everything goes to plan I’ll start the 2nd of January. I have to interrupt my online grind with the PCA which isn’t really a punishment. I’m not playing the Main Event, I might not play any tournaments at all. The reason for this is the Dutch tax laws, after my 5th place at the MCOP I was really eager to play some more live tournaments and the PCA has a lot of good side events. I was thrilled to register for some of them but it’s just not doable with our current tax laws. I tried to qualify for the Main Event but didn’t manage to do so which means I’m probably not playing a lot of poker at all, I might do just 1 tournament for fun.

Most of PokerStars: Team Online are coming and we have a meeting with the whole bunch so that’s the main reason for going. Last year I had a blast with a lot of people from Team Online and most of them had their contract renewed as well so will be going to the PCA as well. I’m sure we are going to have some fun again and I’m planning to play a bunch of tennis if possible since I want to start working out as soon as possible in the new year. I’m bringing my buddy again and he will be playing some tourneys and I will be buying some % so I still hope to earn some money as well 🙂 I should also not forget the bet with DaWarsaw, he will have to be my personal assistant for a full day, I can’t wait 😉

This month I played a bunch of LHE cashgames and didn’t do that bad but in the end it wasn’t great either. I was playing anything up to $15/$30 focusing on 4-6 tables which was great to test out some new things. At the PCA I hope to study some more and when I’m back I should be putting everything to practice and I’ll start again at the $2/$4 level and see where it gets me. I want at least 20.000 hands before moving up but especially in LHE this is still a small sample size. 8 tables should be my max which means 20.000 hands should take roughly 50/60 hours. By the end of January I’ll know if I can start moving up again. January is already packed with stuff, as mentioned PCA, TCOOP starts right after and I’m also away the last weekend of the month. I want to exercise at least 3 times a week as well but since I’m not drinking I should get full use out of my weekend.

I can’t wait to get started. I hope everybody will have a blast at NYE and wish everybody the best in 2013!

See you next year @PokerStars!

 Posted by at 2:20 pm
Dec 172012

I’m one of those guys who like to make new year’s resolutions. Sometimes I stick to them (2007,2009 & 2010) but a lot of times I fail big time (2011 & 2012). You can read all about my 2013 new year’s resolutions in this blog.

I remember last year at the PCA I told everybody I would lose weight, I went from 105kg to 98k but today I’m back at 105kg. I remember making a bet with a friend about the amount of VPPs I would grind out this year, I didn’t even come close. I wanted to crush my personal record on Alp d’Huez but only beat it by 1 minute. Last week I already wrote about my 6 months no alcohol propbet which I think is a great start to achieve all the other goals I have for 2013. I noticed that a lot of people who responded on this didn’t read my blog at all but just responded on the title. I’m not doing it because I’m alcoholic or I think drinking has a negative impact on me as a person. i.e. I don’t get into fights and I don’t drink to try and forget normal life. Most people who do top-class sport don’t drink because it has a negative impact on your overall performance. Now I don’t want to compare myself with somebody who does top-class sport but I do want to push myself to the max for 6 months and by quitting alcohol I will improve my performance in all the goals I want to achieve.

To make sure I wouldn’t change my mind before the end of the year I was willing to put a max of $2k on quitting alcohol for 6 months. Most people on the forums said this was to easy, most of my friends laughed at me in my face and said I would never be able to pull it off. So far I only have 1 person who was willing to bet with me for $250, I’m really happy with this and not because I think it will be easy. After agreeing to the bet I started thinking about what I had already planned to do during these 6 months. At the end of January I’m going away with 36 people for a weekend of fun in a huge/farm house, normally this involves a lot of drinking. In April I’m going away for a weekend to the Amstel Gold Race with 11 guys, normally this involves a lot of drinking. In May I’m going to Greece with my girlfriend for 10/12 days, normally this involves at least some wine during dinner. I was planning to go to Las Vegas as well in June, I doubt this is still an option if I’m not drinking any alcohol. These are just holidays, I probably have somebody’s birthday every other week and let’s just hope nobody is getting married. Yes I can do all these things without drinking but it will be very hard. If I didn’t put any money on it I’m sure I would have allowed myself to drink on all these “special” occasions, which often leads to giving up on it somewhere down the line. I really hope I will be able to finish the bet, $250 might not be enough money to keep my away from drinking alcohol but my own will to accomplish the goals I have for 2013 should!

I’ve been thinking a lot of what I want to do within these 6 months and I think it’s a good idea to list some big goals and some smaller goals. In case for whatever reason I’m not able to make any of the big goals I should still be happy with making some of the smaller goals I’ll set for myself. I want to divide my goals into 3 categories: Poker, Lifestyle, Cycling. I want to finalise the list early next year since I’m going to start with this when I return from the Bahamas but this is what I’ve been thinking off so far.

I agree with most other people that setting a monetary goal is not a good idea. You can’t really predict how much money you are going to make since this heavily depends on the games that are running and how lucky you are in terms of variance. I’ve always put my goals in terms of VPPs which made sense because it said something about how much I grinded. This year however I’m going to do it slightly different, I’m putting my goals in # of hours. This is because I want to play less tables and putting a goal in terms of VPPs will often result in playing to many tables. Therefore I set a goal of playing 500 hours of poker in 6 months which means roughly 20hours a week. This is next to my part-time job of 24hours of course. This is going to be pretty hard since I will miss some week(s)ends due to holidays but I’ll just have to deal with that by grinding a bit more the other weeks. I will actually start counting the hours from January 1st and I have until Friday the 12th of July to make it is a little bit more than 6 months but since I’m away to the Bahamas as well this means only 4 days extra and I doubt I’ll be grinding on the 1st of January. It doesn’t matter if I’m playing cashgames or tourneys, live or online as long as I’m playing poker. I can’t really think about any other poker goals for 2013 but I think this will be a pretty good challenge already!

The obvious one in this category is 6 months without alcohol starting the 13th of January until the 12th of July(so I can have a beer again in France on the 13th). The other one is of course losing some weight again, let’s start with < 100kg then < 95kg and my ultimate goals is 93kg. I’m 105kg at the moment, with Christmas still to come and a week in the Bahamas so there is probably about 10-15kg to lose. Losing weight is actually not the goal, losing fat is but I doubt I’ll gain a lot of muscle by only cycling. 93kg is doable but I would already be extremely happy with < 95kg, I need to drop weight to climb those mountains faster!

I can think off a lot of cycling goals. I want some goals which I can achieve while training and some ultimate goals. The first goal is to get my segment record back on my own strava segment. When doing the sports bet back in September I lost it to Diede and my first goal is to get it back which means I have to cycle 13,4km in 24:30 (32,8km/h). It might not sound fast but it goes up and down a lot so it’s not that simple. My own PR is 26:12 so I do have to improve more than 1:30 minute. Another training goals is a ride I often do to Scheveningen. It’s 72,5km and I would like to ride it solo in 2hours and 40 minutes which means an average of 27,2km/h. I never really ride it solo but the last time I did it it took me 3hours and 7 minutes and with a friend of mine I did it in 02 hours 56 which means I have to gain a lot of speed. The big goal this year is to finish the 150km Amstel Gold Race in April and on the 13th of July after not drinking for 6 months it’s time for another try at Alp d’Huez and this time I do want to crush my personal record! Currently it’s 1 hours and 47 minutes and I want to do it in 1,5 hours, a huge difference but I feel I can do this. It’s probably the most challenging goal I will set myself this year. The last one is to ride up the Galibier for the 1st time, this is going to be the masterpiece of my trip to France!

So these are all the goals I have. I’ll keep track of my weight and poker hours in a spreadsheet and will keep track of my cycling goals. If you have any ideas about other goals I could add just let me know. I can think about them for another month or so. I’m also still willing to take on some more “6 months no alcohol” bets.

If I don’t blog before the end of the year, merry x-mass and a happy new year!

 Posted by at 4:25 pm

Buying Time with a 6 Months Alcohol Propbet

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Dec 072012

I wish I could buy time. I don’t even work full-time and I’m still complaining but 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough. I have so many plans in my head but I just lack the time to execute them. For some of these things it’s not only time that’s lacking, I need to improve my own skills and for that I again need time.

My motivation for poker is at a peak, I’ll explain later why. It’s probably as high as it was before my SNE run in 2010 with the big difference that I have less time to spent on playing poker because my private situation has changed in these 3 years. I’m now living together with my girlfriend and back in 2009 our relationship had only just started and she went away for the first 5 months of 2010. Also my part-time job has changed from a job I could do with my eyes closed to a job in which it hard to do it proper in just the 24 hours I should be working. This is not really a complaint, it’s just merely stating the facts. When I look at my current situation and my overall happiness I’m at a peak as well, one which started many years ago but I’m sure that being able to work part-time and play poker have a lot to do with it. Sure I have my ups and downs as well but my I’m blessed feeling the way I feel.

In 2010 I’ve worked really hard to achieve SNE and I continued to put in the same effort during the first months of 2011 but since black Friday this shifted to less poker and more work. Basically in 2012 this continued, with the addition of taking a lot of time off to relax. I didn’t work a single day in January (Bahamas, Aruba, Curacao), went to Vegas for 2 weeks, a week to Barcelona and I did a couple of short trips as well. I’ve doubted a lot if I should stop playing poker, mainly because it became harder and harder to balance my job and poker but also because I had lost some motivation since black Friday, it just wasn’t the same. There are multiple reasons to not quit poker, money is one thing, having more freedom is something else and the odd chance to still win something big one day is still lingering in my head as well. The biggest reason not to quit poker however should be the fact that the quality of life has so much improved since 2009, something I sometimes forget because you start to take things for granted. I still love the game, it doesn’t bore me like most computer games do after a couple of weeks/months, pretty strange when you think of it.

I’m 30 now and I’m at a stage where a lot of things around me start to change. People around me start settling, get married and make babies. I see some examples of people who play poker and have small kids, I think this is doable but I think it’s really going to be though if you have a part-time job as well. It’s already hard to balance things now, adding another factor for sure isn’t going to make it any easier. My girlfriend is almost 25 and we are not at the stage yet that we are thinking about kids, however that time will probably come one day. When that day comes I’ll probably also have to make a choice between my job and poker but till that day as long as I enjoy both I want to continue doing both. So knowing that at least for next year (but hopefully longer) I’m still playing poker I think I should get as much out of it as possible and that’s one of the reasons why my motivation is at its peak.

The other reason is the talks I’ve had with many poker players the last couple of weeks. This started at the Master Classics of Poker and continued at the “Open Poker Dag” in Utrecht two weeks ago and the PokerStars VIPClub party last Saturday. The best way to get motivation to play poker is to talk about it with other people who have the same drive. I’ve talked to a lot of people at these events, amateurs but also other professional players and this gave me back the motivation I had missed since black Friday. The “Open Poker Dag” was a big freeroll with 240 players with free drinks and food so you can already figured out what happened 🙂

The next day I felt pretty tired but managed to make a pretty deep run in the Sunday Warm-up, finishing 56th with QQ < TT. I played with some friends in Amsterdam and it was a lot of fun to support each other while we were all playing the MicroMillions Main Event and other tourneys. Going deep in a MTT is for sure another way to get motivated 😉

At the PokerStars VIPClub party we didn’t play any poker but again the drinks were free so I ended up drinking a lot of alcohol again. Having evenings like that is great fun, however playing poker the next day is really hard and most of the time it means that you start playing pretty late since you are still hung over. As said I’m lacking time and I think I know where to gain to most from, stop drinking alcohol. Now this has been a subject many times before in my blog and sometimes I kept my promises for a couple of weeks but most of the time it didn’t last too long before I got back into my old habits. I don’t need alcohol to have fun but especially the last 1,5 years I prioritised fun above anything else and this resulted in suboptimal poker conditions during most weekends. I’m definitely not planning to quit alcohol forever but if I complain about time and want to be serious at playing poker I think it’s a no brainer that I can gain the most from quitting alcohol for a period of time. Drinking less often or just less would be a better way I do know that but after all these years I still can’t find a good mode, the switch is either on or off. Quitting alcohol will help my other goals for next year as well. As you might know my weight has been another topic which has been discussed more than once in this blog and the other big plan I have for next year is my cycling week in France and guess what would really help? Indeed quitting alcohol for some time.

So the plan is that I won’t drink alcohol for 6 months, starting the day I return from the Bahamas, January 13 till the day I leave for France, July 13. I’m also so sure about this that I’m willing to propbet it at even odds for a max of $2.000. If people are serious about making this bet the only rule I have is that I need to have seen you in real life at least once. Feel free to leave a comment on this blog, twitter or facebook if you are interested. The reason for wanting to make a propbet out of this is because most of the time I don’t find it difficult to quit for a couple of weeks, then the moment comes that you drink just this one time at a party and from there on you are back to your old habits. If I propbet it I know that the step to drink at only that one party will be a lot higher so I hope that this will prevent me from doing it at all.

The last few weeks after the many talks about poker I have a good idea on how I can improve myself as a poker player. I’m back in love with LHE cashgames but if that doesn’t work out I think SNG’s will be my back-up plan. I will also definitely continue to play MTTs, my results have been pretty good the last months and I really hope to get lucky and make a big(ger) score. I don’t expect to win a Sunday Million out of the blue but with my many deep runs lately I’m hoping that I can get just that little bit deeper and this time make it to the top 3. If I’m really lucky it’s in one of the big ones, the feeling that this could happen is one of the reasons I started playing and I’m still looking for that sort of excitement when I’m playing, something that’s less around when playing cashgames. My main effort will however go into improving my LHE cashgames by studying, I’m planning to do this in a real mathematical approach. When people who are not into poker ask me why I’m good at poker I often answered that it was because I’m good at math but that’s probably only half true. I think it has more to do with the fact that I’m very analytic, a useful skill for both math and poker but I never really went far with using math at the poker tables, something that a lot of people have been doing for a long time in poker already.

This month you might see me play less tables, maybe not even playing at all because I’m studying 🙂 After I return from the Bahamas I should have a lot more time in the weekends since I’m not hung over and I hope to use that time to play a lot of poker again, lose some weight and be faster on my bike then ever!

 Posted by at 12:22 pm